The Distance You Have Come – Review

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The Distance You Have Come: The Cockpit Theatre, London

Reviewed 18th October 2018

★★★★★

Scott Alan’s song cycle The Distance You Have Come tells the story of six people who juggle the constant challenges of life, depression, heartache and love. Told through the music and lyrics of Scott Alan’s most acclaimed works this is the premiere of this brand new musical. Starring West End royalty Andy Coxon, Adrian Hansel, Emma Hatton, Jodie Jacobs, Dean John-Wilson and Alexia Khadime,this show is full of emotion and amazing story telling through song.

The songs, by Scott Alan, are incredibly touching and moving. Not afraid to deal with challenging and hard-hitting themes such as abuse, addiction, sexuality and happiness, the score is able to take the audience on a full circle journey. The multi-layered vocals and harmonies performed by the six outstanding cast members are gorgeous and all of the vocals compliment each other fantastically. There is very limited dialogue in this production, instead the lives of the six characters are told through song. This works really effectively and, despite the often quick changes between storyline and character, the show flows well and it’s easy to find yourself fully drawn into the story. As mentioned previously, the show deals with some tough topics and these are explored in a very creative, yet meaningful, way. The abuse and depression storyline which features Dean John-Wilson is especially gripping. The staging of this scene, in particular, is highly effective and the use of silence to heighten tension is something not used enough in theatre. Dean John-Wilson’s soulful, rich vocals mix with his stunning storytelling and characterisation to create a character who is heart-breaking to watch.

All six members of the cast are brilliant in their roles. Considering this musical has been put together and rehearsed in a very limited timescale, the commitment to character and the ability to show emotion and characterisation is outstanding. Alexia Khadime’s vocals result in goosebumps as she sings ‘Kiss The Air’ and ‘Now‘. Jodie Jacobs adds a welcome touch of humour as bi-sexual Anna, uncertain of her future. As always Jodie is able to use her powerful, strong vocals and great comic timing to lighten the mood. There is no escaping the fact that this is an emotional, if not slightly dark, musical but it’s in these moments that the audience get that light relief that is much needed. Adrian Hansel and Andy Coxon’s relationship is a joy to watch as they meet, marry and come to terms with becoming fathers. Their vocals compliment each other extremely well and ‘Home‘ is a gorgeously sentimental song which many will relate to. Finally, Emma Hatton uses her jazz, folk style vocals to add a new dynamic as the desperate to make it in the spotlight Maisey. The song ‘At All‘ utilises Emma’s strong voice to create a wonderfully touching song. Whilst this character does not seem quite as deep and complex as some of the others, all of the characters intertwine and link together cleverly throughout the performance.

From the opening number ‘Once Upon A Time’ to the emotive finale ‘The Distance You Have Come‘ this show takes the audience on a rollercoaster of emotion. The storytelling and acting through song is superb and the direction by Scott Alan ensures that the audience are fully immersed in the characters’ stories. The set consisting of a swing and single bench, is simple and effective, making good use of the in-the-round theatre setup. The lighting, designed by Andrew Ellis, is brilliantly effective at highlighting key moments and emotions. The use of spots as well as beautifully hung decorative lights is fantastic.

Overall this spell-binding, heartfelt production is utterly gorgeous both to listen to and to watch. It is touching and moving. Although at times the topics are hard to watch, the result is a fantastic piece of new theatre. The Distance You Have Come is certainly worth a visit for any fans of Scott Alan or music and storytelling in any form as it is hard not to be blown away by what the cast and creatives have achieved in such a limited amount of time. I definitely hope there is a future for this outstanding new musical.

The Distance You Have Come is playing at The Cockpit Theatre until the 28th October 2018. For information and tickets click here.

This review was written for and originally published by LondonTheatre1

Photo Credit: Darren Bell

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